Cash-Game Whiz Matt Berkey Steals Spotlight in $300k SHRBowl

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Matt Berkey: He's bowtie good.

Matt Berkey doesn’t have the name recognition of a Daniel Negreanu or Phil Hellmuth but he’s been the story of the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl so far.

Primarily a cash-game player, Berkey has been dominant in the SHRB and topped Day 2 with a staggering 2.8m chips, more than double his closest opponent.

So why is Berkey playing the $300,000 buy-in tournament?

“It was a pretty easy decision,” explained Berkey. “With the $300k overlay there was far too much value to not play it. I didn’t have any trouble getting the funds.

“I mean it’s a tough field but the value of it being rake free and the $300k overlay is pretty high.”

Berkey at Home Against Elite Pros

Most poker players would balk at playing the best poker players in the world but Berkey had no problem with it.

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“I like playing high-level competition,” he said. “I play high-stakes cash so this is nothing I’m not accustomed too.”

Berkey is a regular in the Aria $300/$600/$1200 downstairs. He also famously appeared as one of Russell Thomas’ training stand-ins for the Jason Somerville doc The Final Table in 2012.

He’s still earned more $1.7m in lifetime live tournament earnings, which is pretty decent for a cash-game player.

“I’ve been playing live cash my entire career,” he said. “I’ve had some tournament success but it’s just WSOP stuff.

"I play enough to make it count I guess.”

Loving the 40-Second Shot Clock

The Super High Roller Bowl is not your standard tournament. Besides the $300k overlay and rake-free structure the event also utilizes a 40-second shot clock to keep things moving.

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The clock is ticking.

Berkey is a fan.

“I love it,” he said. “I think it’s an absolute must for tournament poker moving forward.

"There are a lot of difficult decisions in poker but I feel like a lot of the trivial decisions are being exasperated at this point. 40 seconds is absolutely perfect.”

With playing winding down on Day 3 Berkey still has a shot at the massive $5m first-place prize.

There aren’t many tournaments that offer a bigger payoff than that, but it’s not even the money that Berkey has his eye on. It’s opportunity that cash brings to a poker pro.

“The money would be nice but what I’m able to do with it moving forward would probably be the part that I would appreciate the most.”

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